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Journey to Success with Tayo Rockson, CEO of UYD Media
Tayo Rockson is an author, change agent, podcaster and cross-cultural expert who focuses on helping people connect across cultures. With his strategic leadership and consulting firm, he helps corporations improve their bottom line by incorporating diversity, inclusion and social justice strategies. His work has been featured in NowThis News, Huffington Post and Entrepreneur. In addition to this, he has spoken at the United Nations Foundation as well as the World Bank.
How do you define success?
Success is living up to my potential.
Everyone has his or her own journey and story to tell. Can you talk about your journey up to this point?
As a kid, I was always curious. I was fascinated by the ability we all have to make our world a better place. I wanted to know why even though we live in an increasingly globalized and digital world, many fail to act global or digital. Why were people more concerned with building walls instead of bridges? How could we as a society fix the inequalities that exist today? These questions stayed with me even as I went on to college and started working after I graduated. They intensified when I took my first job but alas I didn’t feel like I could do anything meaningful. I had always wanted to build a media empire that made people become the best versions of themselves like Oprah Winfrey did and fight for social justice like the late Nelson Mandela but alas, I wasn’t brave enough. That was until I was involved in a near death experience. I was driving to the place of work I hated when a car cut my lane in half and caused me to spin all over the place on the highway. I was certain I was facing death but all I kept saying to myself was “I am 22 and I have not done anything I said I would do!” Luckily, I was able to get out of that incident unscathed so I took as a second chance to pursue my passions. I quit my job, moved to New York City and began to conduct a social experiment. An experiment that sought out the best ways to build a culturally aware generation.
This social experiment would later become my podcast which spawned into my company. I interviewed leaders in business, culture, travel and global affairs to discuss what it takes for one to embrace one’s global identity and become a global leader. Fortunately, that got featured on Entrepreneur as the number 2 business podcast. Since then, I have been able to use the success of the podcast to talk to schools and companies about the importance of cross cultural competencies and how that affects the bottomline of companies and how it helps individuals advance in their careers.
You grew up living in 5 countries and 4 continents. What is the most fascinating thing that you’ve learned about people?
Hmm... I would say it that beneath every culture, there is a desire for people to feel like they are being heard or seen. People want to be provided an opportunity to pursue their dreams. That's why my favorite thing is to show people how to connect across cultures because I believe this allows people to tap into their ultimate potential as they discover things about themselves they wouldn't have known otherwise.
How has living across the globe impacted you as a businessman?
Yes it has in every way. It has shaped my worldview and allowed me to approach problem solving from a macro and micro level.
Where is your favorite place to live?
New York City
How many languages do you speak? Do you have plans on learning more?
English and French. I am currently learning Spanish
What has been your biggest failure and how have you learned from it?
Launching a course without doing the appropriate research. I learned that you should never assume an audience will automatically want what you sell if you don't understand your target audience.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Always trust the person you see in the mirror.
If you could have lunch with 3 people, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey and LeBron James. I'd love to learn how they built personal brands and connected their brands to massive world changing movements.
The Fundamental Round
Favorite food: OOF! Anything spicy
Favorite book: The Alchemist and all the Harry Potter books
Favorite movie: Too many to pick
Favorite athlete: LeBron James
Favorite sports team: Manchester United
Favorite song: My Heart Will Go On By Celine Dion
Favorite quote: "He who says he can and he who says he can't are both usually right"
Biggest role model: The late Nelson Mandela and Oprah Winfrey
Animal you most resemble (looks or personality): Probably a lion
You can connect with Tayo here:
Tayo Rockson Twitter
Tayo Rockson Instagram
Tayo Rockson LinkedIn